Four suspended Massachusetts Port Authority workers on Wednesday admitted their roles in a scheme to collect cash and other gifts from cabdrivers seeking to get quicker access to customers at Logan International Airport, authorities said.
The men — Kenneth Clement, 68, of New Hampshire; Vadim Mkrtychev, 39, of West Roxbury; Michael Garvey, 53, of Melrose; and Donald Potts, 49, of Roxbury — pleaded guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to charges of accepting illegal gifts, according to the office of Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.
Each was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine, and all were barred from seeking further government employment or collecting their state pensions, Conley’s office said in a statement.
John J. McGlone III, an attorney for Garvey, said by phone that his client “made a decision to just move on” by pleading guilty. Lawyers for the other men either declined to comment or could not be reached on Wednesday night.
McGlone said the men cannot collect pensions but are entitled to get back the money they have contributed to the pension fund.
Wark, a spokesman for Conley, said the defendants can seek to recoup their contributions, but state retirement officials must approve such requests.
According to prosecutors, the men worked for Massport as cab starters, who worked in the Logan taxi pool where drivers wait in line to pick up fares. Drivers who paid cash were allowed to bypass the sometimes long wait in the pool, putting the drivers who did not make payouts at a disadvantage, the statement said.
Wark said Wednesday that prosecutors “believe each defendant took in thousands of dollars over a period of years.”
The men usually collected between $20 and $40 from drivers to allow them to skip the waiting pool, though the suspects sometimes accepted scratch tickets, cigarettes, and other goods as bribes, officials said in February 2013.
McGlone, Garvey’s lawyer, said his client accepted items including gift cards and received money from a driver only once, when he accepted a loan of more than $1,000 to pay for his child’s dental bill. McGlone said Garvey repaid the driver.
Matthew Brelis, a spokesman for Massport, which runs Logan, said in an e-mail that the men have been suspended without pay since they were charged, and that the agency will begin the disciplinary process. He said “the facts as currently presented warrant their termination.”
Massport said previously the men had salaries of $63,000 a year.
A fifth defendant who was also suspended without pay by Massport, James Mulrey, 47, of Canton, has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to go to trial in March.
Travis Andersen can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.